Thursday, 23 November 2017

Is It Resting Bitch Face or Do I Just Not Like You?

If you had asked me yesterday, "Annemarie, do you enjoy scaring the youngins?" My answer would have been a very definitive "No ma'am."
Today I learned different.
Not only is scaring the youngins fun as hell, y'all make it too easy.
My work output has been at the 'are you fucking kidding me levels' for a while and I've been looking for something to turn things around. Then it occurred to me that I had not, in fact, seen Thor Ragnarok yet. Nothing like a good Avengers movie to reset your fucking life.
I actually woke up in the daytime and left the house.
I get to Century Cinemax somewhere in between movie times and so I have time to kill. I decide to go downstairs and have lunch at the coffee shop. There were like five tables occupied so I figured I'd get service pretty fast. Perhaps it was the ho' earrings that made them take me for granted because wow.
First, they bring me a cold sandwich when I asked for toasted.
Then after they take the sandwich back to toast it, they fail to bring it back until I asked what happened to it.
When they bring it, it's cold, again.
I tell them to fuck off with their sandwich and bring me the bill for the hot chocolate I'd drunk. Of course, trainee manager comes by, asking me as if totally mystified what I the problem with my meal could possibly be?

Well, I told her. In detail. I held nothing back.
She's apologizing, asking me if she can get me a desert and I'm all like, "No thanks. I'm done with you people."
While they're sorting out the bill, the young and lovely, reminding me of Mya but with a lot less spine, at the next table says "Excuse me?" in a very soft voice, "Would you mind watching my laptop while I go to the loo?"
I'm like, "Sure, whatever."
And I don't know if it's my face or what but she goes like, "Never mind, I can just ask the waiter." Which she proceeds to do while I'm wondering why she looks so scared. I'm still signing my bill when she comes back and she thanks me for watching her laptop even if she'd asked someone else to do it. (internal Kanye shrug).

Well I run upstairs coz it's ten minutes to movie time and as I'm entering, there are three white people behind me and they're singing along to the song playing on the speakers and generally being loud. And in my head I'm like, "No thanks ma'am, I'm sitting as far away from those people as I can."
But I'm in front of them. Which means I'll choose a seat before them.
I choose a row and make my way to the furthest end, and they choose the row behind me and follow me as if they're going to sit directly behind me.
Sorry but no.
I just turned around and retraced my steps, went three rows in front of them and sat down. If they wanted to take it amiss they were welcome to because they were right. I was avoiding them. I did not come to the theatre to have my movie experience ruined by loud ass people behind me.
I sit down in the middle of an empty row, place my bag on the seat to my left and my soda on the seat to my right. That says keep your fat asses away from me quite clearly, doesn't it?
Apparently not because these two boys come and sit right next to me.
Honestly, there was a whole empty row!
Worse, they start to talk and laugh and eat popcorn as loudly as possible.

No! Just no.
I wasn't having it. I leaned in and told them "Excuse me if you're going to talk and laugh during the movie could you please move? There's plenty of chairs along the row you can sit on, you don't need to be sitting next to me."
I think they were a bit surprised but they said they were fine where they were. Two minutes later though, they moved away.
I didn't even feel a little bad about it.
But I realized that maybe I'm not people trained anymore. I don't know how to do those politenesses which enable people to endure discomfort in public with a grim smile. I'm just like, sorry, life is too short. Is it age or being a shut-in?

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Expectations vs. Reality

I grew up Catholic and everything from school to home life taught me that people strove to be good and kind and fair so that they might one day get to heaven when they die. I assumed that adulthood and maturity were the same things. I assumed that everyone had common sense and thought logically. Well, you know what they say about assuming...(it makes an ass out of you and me). The reality is so much more different. Churches aren't about bringing out the best in people and all people want to know from God is..."What have you done for me lately?"
Africans are being sold as slaves in Libya. (What a segue way huh?) Now I haven't so much as read one of the articles or watched a clip; I've just seen the headlines on social media. Do they surprise me?
Do you remember that Jada Pinkett Smith did a whole segment on CNN on human trafficking in America? About how kids as young as twelve years old were sold into prostitution by 'their boyfriends' a.k.a pimps. It all came down to these kids looking for love in all the wrong places and these predators willing to brainwash them into thinking they were getting it from them. Since their parents are never home anyway and they don't notice what happens in their kids' lives. Or they live with frail grandparents who it's all they can do to get up in the morning. When I think about it, I get so sad and just want to hug my boy close and let him know that he is loved.
I also saw another segment also on CNN about 'child brides' in India. I put the child brides in quotes because these girls were being 'married off' by their families and Catholic priests to men from Dubai and wherever; the men used the women for sex, rode them hard and put them away wet...and then abandoned them. Then they went home to their families and probably went through the whole thing all over again.
Modern-day slavery is alive and well.

This world is fucked up.
Most of these reports though look at the problem only through one lens. The lens of the predator coming, using their money and influence and getting to use human beings like tissue paper. Nobody examines the problems from the other side. What makes these girls submit to being degraded in return for this toxic 'love'? What makes families in India sell their children like livestock? Why are young men submitting to being sold as slaves in Libya?
What is the driving force behind this?
I know I know, nobody wants to be labeled a victim blamer, but I tell you true, unless you know what drives both sides, you're never going to solve the problem.
Maybe we don't want to solve the problem?
Maybe we're content, to be fake outraged on social media, and life goes on? After all don't we have enough personal problems? Who needs more shit on their plate right? No one that's who.
And what about these men? What is it that makes you see a child being exploited and it makes you hard as diamonds and wanting to despoil that child even further? Use them hard and leave them whimpering in pain and misery? Knowing that behind you are fifty more men who are going to use her just the same. And then all of you go home to your wives and kids and say, "Hey honey, how was your day? My meeting ran a little long. I'm so hungry, is there any of your delicious meatloaf left?"
See this is why I'm single.
Then there is the case of Cyntoia Brown. She was sixteen when she was trafficked by a pimp named cut throat. That was after being drugged and raped for days by those men above. Then she was sold to a 43 yr old child predator. She shot him dead and guess what? She's in jail, sentenced to 51 years. My young self would have been like, "Don't be ridiculous! No one in their right mind would do that!"
So, is the American justice system not in its right mind or are people just inherently without a moral compass or a smidgeon of compassion? It really boggles my mind how evil sons of bitches are. To think that she was alone in this, nobody helped heart hurts.
I keep seeing this post on Twitter about Mansa Musa being the richest man on earth ever, with a net worth of 400billion. I don't remember when Mansa Musa lived or which village he was the chief of. That must have been primary school history which was a long time ago. What I definitely don't remember reading is that his village was also rich and prosperous. Perhaps he was just another leader who liked to accumulate wealth while his people languish in poverty. Nothing to celebrate in other words.
And if we're looking for the answer to slavery, I think we find it in poverty. No doubt Mansa Musa sold some of his 'less desirable' folk to the slavers. They were poor anyway, a burden on the village? Criminals? Weak minded? His enemies? Whatever the reason, I'm sure if I did my research, there'd be some people selling in there. Supply and demand. An endless supply of poverty-stricken individuals are just rich fodder waiting to be plundered by somebody.
A girl wanting to buy a new weave so she's more socially acceptable in her school circles; meets a man who says, "Hey, why don't I buy it for you? All I want is...a kiss in repayment. How about it?"
And that's how the devil offers you domain over everything you see.
"Just jump off this cliff for me, and it's all yours."
Dreams of a better life.
Food on your plate.
Whatever it is, you get offered it in return for...nothing that you'll miss anyway right?
Just your soul, your dignity, and your self-respect. You can't even see those. Very likely they don't even exist.
We have to do better.
We have to be better.
My mini romance story that won first prize, I believe you can read it in the post before this one, is about slavery. It's only alluded to because it was a romance competition not some literature thing that was looking for deep sad stories. It was one of the reasons I was sure they would throw it out. The girl is enslaved by one guy and won in a poker game by another. I was constrained by the word count, but if I had my way, she'd have run away from him too. Because even though he figured he was 'saving' her, the truth is that he just bought her manumission papers and if he so chooses, he could enslave her just as much as the guy he won her from. At the end of the day, we have to realize our own value and save ourselves.
Enough real-life horror. Go read some contrived horror here and here for November, which is horror month. Or allow me to buy you a copy by filling in the form.

Monday, 20 November 2017

The Story That Won First Prize

This is the story which won me that Amazon gift card. The one I'm using to buy anyone who wants one, a copy of any book you want (of mine - see google form at the bottom.) What I like about winning a prize with this story is that it's one of my crazy wacko concepts and frankly I was expecting it to be thrown out without ceremony. If you know me at all you know I like to avoid the beaten path when it comes to storytelling. I'd rather beat on the poison ivy with a machete than take the pig path. Only in my head of course. Real nature has chameleons and snakes...I'm gonna take the road. 
So here it is. 
Comments are love.

Copyright © 2017 by Annemarie Musawale All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

Clyde and His Bonnie

Iman wiped his shoes on the rug outside of the bar. Sure, this was some Podunk town in Texas and the way the wind was blowing dust everywhere…his gesture was probably pointless. But that wasn’t the point of wiping his shoes anyway. He wanted these small town hicks to know he was a civilized gentleman with manners. With his dusky skin and curly hair, it was necessary.
The bartender looked up as he walked in, an assessing look in his eye. He looked down again and continued dusting the counter so Iman guessed he’d passed the test. He ambled slowly up to the counter, taking in every aspect of the room.
This was a dying town, a relic of happier days before the assembly plant was outsourced overseas. Iman was probably the first stranger they’d seen in a while.

“Hey. I’ll have whatever’s on tap,” he told the bartender. The man nodded, picking up a relatively clean glass and filling it up. He placed it on the counter and then picked up his rag. He didn’t move away so Iman took it as his cue.
“I hear there’s a poker game here every Wednesday night. Any chance I can get a buy-in?”
The man raised his blue eyes narrowing them at Iman, “whose askin’?”
Iman stuck out his hand, “Name’s Cole Sprouse, looking to make some money to buy me some fuel. Got me a job in Dallas waitin’...”
The bartender looked down at his hand with suspicion before reaching out slowly to shake it. Iman had found on his travels that if a man shook your hand, he was less likely to stab you in the back.
At least, not right away.
“Game’s in the back,” he said.
“Thank you, kind sir. And you are…?” Iman held on to the bartender’s hand, widening his whiskey eyes at him.
“Dan Shumpert,” he said.
“Nice to meet you, Dan,” Iman said with one last vigorous shake. He had some money to make and no time to lose. Deadlines were looming.
Iman was winning steadily and his opponents were getting steadily more upset. He figured it was time to bail and pushed his chair back to stand up.
“Uh, well fellas it’s been-” he began to say.
“One more game,” interrupted the sweaty guy on his right with five o’clock shadow and a dirty wifebeater. Iman had been keeping an eye on him because he seemed like the kind to keep a gun under his chair.
“Uh, you don’t have any collat-” he began to say.
 Wifebeater guy looked up at the beefcake looming in the doorway and said, “Bring her.” he cut in.
Iman sat up straighter. What was going on?
Before he could catch his breath, a young woman was pushed into the room. She had zip ties on her wrists, tying her hands together. Her long silky black hair hung halfway down her back in a greasy curtain and her white dress could have done with a wash. Her black eyes were wide with fear as she stared at Wifebeater guy.
“What’s-” Iman began to ask.
“Your entire stake for the girl,” Wifebeater guy said.
Iman stared at him in shock, “You want to wager…a person?”
Wifebeater guy shrugged, “She’s mine to do with whatever I please. Bet or no bet?”
There was no way he could stand up and walk away. Not when these people were…wagering humans.
“Bet,” he said.
Wifebeater nodded at the dealer who immediately began to shuffle cards. Iman could not stop staring at the girl as she stood shivering behind Wifebeater’s chair. She was tall, maybe five eight, voluptuous with her heavy breasts and ample hips, tiny waist in between. But it was the look in her eyes that drew him again and again. She looked like a trapped tiger, looking for an opening to escape. Iman resolved there and then, that he was going to help her. He looked down at his cards, knowing with even more certainty than before, that losing was not an option.
Iman grabbed the girl’s hand, pulling her out of the Saloon at a run. Wifebeater guy had not been expecting to lose and it had been tricky getting out of there without a fight. He skidded to a halt in front of his Camaro, pushing her in before getting in after her before gunning the engine. He raised a lot of dust himself as put the pedal to the metal. They careened out of town, one eye on the rearview watching for a tail. Iman didn’t stop until he’d put two hundred miles between him and the Podunk town. Too tired to drive anymore, he stopped at a no-tell motel on the side of the road. Parking in the driveway, he turned to the girl.
“So…what’s your name?” he asked.
She looked at him as if she was thinking about pretending not to understand what he said. But at last she sighed and turned to face him.
“Will you untie me if I tell you?” she asked.
Iman jumped. He’d completely forgotten about the zip ties, “Of course I will damn.” He said fishing for the knife he kept in his stocking. He pulled it out holding it toward her. She held out her hands, too trustingly he thought, and let him cut through her restraints.
“So, you going to tell me your name?” he asked.
“It’s Honey,” she said.
Iman smiled at her, looking into her eyes, “It suits you,” he said looking down at her arm, “that’s the exact color of your skin.”
Honey smiled, “And what is your name? Prince Charming?”
Iman smiled, holding out his hand to be shaken, “My name is Iman Bridges. And I am here to rescue you.”
Honey shook his hand with a laugh, “Yeah right. Are you getting us a room or what?”
“Your wish is my command,” Iman said suddenly feeling like he had indeed won the lottery.

Fill in the form with a book of your choice and Merry Christmas. First come, first served.

Friday, 17 November 2017

The Highs, the Lows, The Life of an Artiste

You know, mostly this week has consisted of good news. So  I don't know why I feel kinda depressed. I guess I'm waiting for it all to turn bad or something. Or I have burnout. Anyway, not your problem.
Let us start with the good news then.
Child of Destiny is back in circulation!
Yaaassss! I was really worried there for a minute.

It made me doubt myself.
Well if there has been a week for doubting myself, it's been this one. For one thing, I got my first reviews for In Search of Paradise...both three stars. I suppose that's not too bad right? 60% grade is a pass.
I haven't felt more like a trash writer than I've felt this week. I found myself questioning my vocation. Is this really worth the heartache I wondered? Maybe I should just chuck it all in and go live in a commune or something.
(I really hope this is some sort of hormonal thing because being this dramatic all the time is going to be exhausting.)
But being me, I had to psychoanalyze why the fuck I felt like such a failure. I think it goes back to my mother; she had such high standards for me. Getting 60% would definitely have not been acceptable to her.
"You can do better than that," she would have said.
And so she created this expectation in me that I must be always above average or nothing at all. It's generally played havoc with my life I can tell you because you're going to be crap at something or other. And it always hits me hard when I do just okay. It has to be excellent or nothing at all.
It dawned on me some time in my musings that I may be a perfectionist. Which sucks because I hate perfectionists; they're so unrealistic!
I guess it also explains my mood this evening. I missed a deadline and a client canceled a contract and I was legit ready to chuck it all in and live as a hobo on the street. Thankfully my son talked me down; without being aware that that was what he was doing; him and DJ Khaled actually. Check my Instagram if you don't believe me...
I entered a competition and I won...I did tell you it's been mostly a good news week. I submitted a short story to the Mini Romances Short Story Writing Contest. Shock on me when I won first prize. I'd just been reading Awesomely Luvvie's post about how two years ago or something she was ugly crying into her beer feeling like a failure and then she got a phone call to say she'd won a competition. And I said to myself, "Yeah well...that isn't going to happen to me." *continues to wallow in self-pity*
Well, that was yesterday. Today I won a competition.
Woah, right?
So anyways, my prize is supposed to be a $25 dollar amazon gift card. I'm gonna use it to buy books for you. Fill in the form below, choose the book you want, and Bob's your uncle.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Of Witch Hunts and Which Hunts

The lynch mobs are out in force these days huh? I always feel uncomfortable when the pitchforks and angry mobs come out. Especially since they seem so selective. Louis CK came out of the sexual harassment closet last week. Unlike the other guys he didn't try to fight the power, but just was like, "Yeah, I did it."

p.s. Why do these pervs all look like pale skinned homeless drunks?
I read his apology. It was full of how much these women 'admired' him and how he 'took advantage' of their admiration by asking them if they wanted to see his penis...
That kind of puzzled me because assuming he was meeting these women in business conditions, what part of the business meeting involves the notion that your colleagues might want a peek at your privates?
I tried to understand it using my one and only guinea pig; my son. So like Michelle Obama said, it's true in my case, I did kind of mollycoddle him except that I didn't. I say that because looking at men around me, I kind of figured that they have really fragile egos because they didn't have a foundation of a sense of self. So I always tried to give my kid that. To let him know that he was valued and that he was capable and I always tried to let him make decisions for himself just so that he knew he could. I could tell you how this backfired on me in adolescence but this isn't a parenting post.

So yeah, he does have a belief in himself and in his importance in the world. And when he talks about girls, maybe he does feel that he's really important to their happiness. Certainly, he thinks (knows) that he's important to mine. I see how he goes around feeling cocky and like the greatest thing since sliced bread. But that's just teenagerhood, right? And even with all that, I don't think he would whip out his penis to show someone because he thought they admired him. I mean, I'll ask him, but I don't think the notion would occur to him.
So if that notion wouldn't occur to a cocky teenager, why would it occur to a full grown, middle-aged man? These are just some of the things I wonder about.
However, back to the lynch mob.

So Louis CK was masturbating in front of women and the lynch mob is very annoyed with...Aziz Ansari.
They mad at Aziz because TWO YEARS AGO, when asked by a Daily Beast reporter about his mentor, he said: "I'm not talking about that."
What people seem to forget about these harassers is that that's what they might be TO YOU, but they are other things to other people. Aziz didn't rush to Louis' defense. He didn't try to justify what the man was doing. He just said, "I'm not talking about that."
To blame him for that is like blaming Nicki Minaj for paying her brother's legal costs. He might be a disgusting child rapist, but he's also her brother. Loyalty is a rare and precious thing, especially in this day and age. I'm not going to blame anyone for standing by their friend.
All these accusations being flung about left and right are making me uncomfortable. The only court that seems to matter is that of public opinion. How about someone files a police case? Sexual harassment is illegal, right? It is a crime? So file a complaint. This business of bringing stories to the blogs, just allegations being published as's...unsavory.

Besides, getting all these men fired is not the solution. Oh, I'm not saying they should keep their jobs; I'm just saying it's not the solution. What is really required is a paradigm shift.
In the eighties and nineties, AIDS swept across Africa, taking whole villages along with it especially in Nyanza and Uganda. This is because of the communities' sexual practices. All that was left was young children and old people. So the government of Uganda launched a campaign on safe sex. That led to an entire generation of Ugandans who grew up not knowing what it felt like to have sex without a condom. For to solve the problem, they had to engender behavior change in the whole entire country.
That's what this sexual harassment problem needs. Everyone needs to adopt new patterns of behavior. The lynch mobs are a fad. They will do nothing except make sure some men lose their jobs temporarily. In another, five to ten years, Brett Ratner, Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey will be "rehabilitated" and allowed to join polite society again. That's just how the weasel pops.
Changing your behavior is hard, it sucks balls. It usually never happens unless needs must. Like Bulitia in Requiscant in Pace, forced to go from husband and father and free man to slave bonded to a monster. He had to adapt in order to survive and that's what we'll all be forced to do.
This month is horror month (go with it) and you have a choice...between a pair of ghost lovers trying to survive the afterlife, or an African slave, trying to survive his new master who is just a little bit more than human. Which will you choose?

Friday, 10 November 2017

And Speaking of Karma...

It's been that week.
You know the one that has you wondering what you did to the gods to deserve this? Was it coz I said Tyrese is an idiot? I'm sorry...
So anyways, first of all, on the personal front, my dog had pups. Now, the thing is, the pregnancy was unauthorized as in fuck knows who the father is...But there it is, bitch got pregnant and we all just had to deal. So she gave birth sometime on Saturday night, to two pups much to the excitement of my son. Personally, I thought that it might be too soon because we just fucking noticed she was pregnant. Anyways, she gave birth to two on Sunday, then one more on Monday.
Freaky? You haven't heard the half of it.
On Monday night, the new one died. Maybe it was a stillbirth I don't know. I left all the midwifing to my son since he was so enthused.

The next day, I find one of the other two outside my kitchen door. Now it's too small to have climbed out of the nest my son made for them in a suitcase so I'm thinking someone carried it out and MURDERERDT it. My suspicions are of course on Becky, it's mother. As far as I know, there are no other dogs that come into the compound and Eagles don't fly at they?
Anyway so there's one puppy left, I don't  have much hope for it now that it officially has The World's Most Negligent Mother. And my son left to visit his pops, so I'm all alone with Stranger Things 2 happening on my verandah.
So I wake up the next day and there's a new pup in the box. I don't know where it came from but Becky's behind is bloody.
Today I look in the box and the new pup hasn't moved. It might be dead. I really don't want to touch it to check. Where's my son when I need him? Damn shared parenting!
And then just for shits and giggles, Pronoun, my publisher sends me a random email on Monday informing me that they are shutting down and that I should take my books and fuck off.
Of course, their email was much more polite but that was the essence of it. Sooo, just when In Search of Paradise has gone live and I'm launching a new promo month, I have to unpublish all my books and shove off somewhere else...
Just to add icing on the cake, two blogs I was targetting to get interviewed on both call me this week like, "Hey! Let's do an interview!"
Yeah okay.
So my books are not available on my links, and not available to buy anywhere and these two people want to do interviews, one of which was gonna be on TV.
Well...had to postpone those, the TV one I don't even know, probably permanently and just wait patiently while my books get republished.
Icing on the cake?
Child of Destiny being blocked because of non-consensual sex.  On the very channels where it was for sale last week! I don't even know man. I'm appealing, it is under review. But just know that you can't find Child of Destiny anywhere at the moment.
Yes. I am crying.
Oh and don't think you've escaped because unlike pronoun, draft2digital is not able to sell books on permafree from Amazon, so if you want to download The Swamp is full of Mystery or Lunchtime Stories free, you have to go elsewhere. Or you can buy them on Amazon for $0.99
How has your week been?

Monday, 6 November 2017

Karma is a Bitch

"How people treat you is their karma. 

How you respond to it, is yours."
Do you agree?
I was thinking about this while I read an article interviewing author Jodi Picoult. She was reflecting on her own racism and telling a few stories of how black Americans seek to make the environment 'comfortable' for their white countrymen. One lady apparently carried a bottle of Voss water on the train to indicate to her fellow travelers that it was okay to sit next to her.
Frankly if it was me and no one wanted to sit next to me because of my very dark skin color, I would take it as a chance to spread myself out, put my bag on the bench next to me, extract a book, make myself comfortable, maybe put my feet up, and read for the rest of the journey. Because you know what? You not wanting to sit next to me is absolutely not my problem. And to make it my problem is to add stress to my life that I don't need.
Then she told this story about a black nurse. Some nazi wannabe had a baby born at the hospital where she works and when he saw the nurse working in the NICU he complained to the hospital admin that he did not want a black nurse touching his baby. Apparently, the hospital just made a note of it in his file...NO BLACK NURSE SHOULD TOUCH SO AND SO'S CHILD.
Question; does that mean that they had to take a look at their rotation to make sure there was always a white nurse on staff? Or were there times when that child was left unattended because there was no white nurse currently working? What about black doctors? Were they also exempt? What if the only pediatrician was a person of color? Would the hospital have hired a new one to cater to the skinhead's kid? Just how far would everyone bend over backward to accommodate this racism? Americans really blow my mind sometimes. Not to say that there is no bias or racism anywhere else on earth, but America is the only place where it is a semi-official policy. Where segregation is still very much publicly tolerated. Like if that happened here, everyone would look at you like you like you just lost your damned mind and go about their business as if you hadn't said anything.
It must be stressful to live in that kind of environment. All the more reason not to make other people's actions your problem. That nurse should look at being banned from touching that future nazi like a break from work.
"Oh, the time I would have spent looking after this child, let's see, I could apply for a Ph.D. program with the money I'm going to get from the discrimination lawsuit imma file. Get out of this bullshit ward and go work for Johns Hopkins or something. The CDC."
Because you can wallow in the unfairness of life or you can take that lemon and make lemonade like nobody's business.

Speaking of lemons, dude! Have you heard +Rihanna rap on the new N.E.R.D song? Straight fire. Is there nothing my president can't do? I am further inspired. Now if I can turn that inspiration to focus, I would be on fire myself. My cousin posted an excerpt from a self-development seminar she was attending stating that focus was about feelings.That hit me right in my solar plexus because I've had difficulty finding focus for my ghostwriting work. I realized it is because I've been bored by it. Ambivalent. And if my feelings don't change, my work will definitely suffer. I think with nostalgia how much I used to enjoy putting pen to paper...okay fingers to keyboard; and I wonder where I lost it. I still have it with my own work, but for other people, not so much. I probably need to get that back; like yesterday.
Knowing the problem is half the solution right?
My problems are not entertaining, are they?

Tyrese's are though. I used to follow him on Instagram long ago, but I stopped because he's an idiot. No seriously, I'm not trying to insult him. He's a legit idiot. An idiot with lots of talent but not much sense. Kind of an idiot savant. But this last week or three he's managed to get himself in all the blogs with his Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson/Baby Mama feud. I kind of felt like, second-hand embarrassment for him because chile...You have to have some sort of chill. Some self-awareness. Otherwise, it gets real painful outchea in these streets. I suspect that secondhand embarrassment is what made the Smiths (Will and Jada) raid their petty cash and send him 5million to stay off the gram. Because seriously...ouch.
I think back to all the franchises Tyrese has been in, and I wonder at him saying he's broke. I remember that he fucked up the joint album he was supposed to do with Ginuwine and Tank because he wanted more money than them. And ended up making no money. Meanwhile, he's broke, or so he says.
Make good decisions people.
Same thing with Mary J. Like thirty years of hits and she's on negative eleven million.
What the fuck?
Meanwhile, my president lost almost all her money when she was just barely out of her teens, worked hard to make it back tenfold, and successfully sued her management to get her original eleven million back. What does she have that they don't? Good management? An education? what? And can they possibly get it? Is it too late?
It's nice to see that other people's lives are a mess right? It makes you think that you're not doing so bad. I rather look at people like Rihanna and feel inspired to do better than look at Tyrese and wonder what went wrong. A man has talent, he has opportunity, what does he do with it?
I'd rather ask that question of myself.
What I am trying to do with it, is edutain y'all with stories.
This month, November is horror month.
Don't question it, just go with it.
Have you read In the Shadow of the Styx yet?

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

The Power of Words

Hello. How was your weekend? Mine was...eventful. I'm still recovering. I'm sleepy and tired and behind in my work. Also, I haven't been paying any attention to you because I haven't had the energy to spare.
Does that happen to you too?

Sometimes you have just about enough energy to keep breathing and that's it. Ugh, speaking of breathing...I'm not doing that so well either.
Anyways, so I want to talk about words today. Words have power. They can cause revolutions, break hearts, change minds, elevate the spirit, or depress it. Kill. Hurt. Heal.
And yet we use them so carelessly every day, don't we? We fling them about like confetti, letting them land as they will without thought to consequences or impact. We're just talking, just joking, just being honest...

On Sunday my son and I went for dinner at a nearby hotel because we were too lacking in energy to cook. When we got back home, it turned out that my son had left the house keys at the restaurant. I'm sure many of you are familiar with that surge of irritation that happens when someone else is careless with our stuff. What do we tend to do about it?
I was reminded of (spoiler alert) Jamie Fraser when Claire got lost on her way from a birthing. Her horse threw her and then disappeared so she was alone in the forest in a major downpour and with no way to get home. Anyways, bish bam boom, Jamie, and Ian found her and took her home. And as he was giving her a bath, he tells her that while he's aware that it wasn't her fault, he still feels like giving her a scolding to relieve his feelings. So Claire tells him to scold her in Gaelic because she'll only understand about half the words anyway. And that's what he does.

Back to my son.
So he says he left the keys, and I feel that surge of irritation. But just as I'm opening my mouth to tell him what a careless buffoon he is I pause. And I ask myself, who would you be helping by shouting at him? The deed is done. You can see by his face that he's expecting the word vomit you were about to pour on him. So instead I just held up the 100 bob I had in my hand and said: "Well go and get it."
I was still irritated so I called him a whole bunch of names in my head. Then I settled down and waited for him to come back. Just by his posture, and the way he moved fast to do anything I asked of him that evening and the next day, I could tell he was...relieved? that he hadn't gotten The Lecture. And it took me back to my own childhood and the endless lectures about every little wrong thing I ever did. And I resolved to always think before I opened my mouth, to anyone. Because what could be relieving feelings to one person might be a lifetime of trauma for somebody else.
Do you think Kevin Spacey thought about the impact of his words when he wrote that struggle apology? I think that he did. I think that he was thinking that if he said he was gay people would hesitate to come for him about Anthony Rapp because they would be scared to be labeled homophobic. And for sure, most news outlets led with the "Kevin Spacey comes out" part of the story and not the "Kevin Spacey molested a 14-year-old boy."
I have been Anthony Rapp and the way he says he feels even now was so familiar, I was like yeah, that is exactly how I would feel if I came face to face with that guy again. You're transported right back to that age, that level of fear, that level of helplessness. I'm glad I haven't seen him again. I can't imagine how it must be to see someone's face on TV every day. But back to the power of words; Kevin knew just what his words would do; he was trying to take the wind out the sails of Anthony's words. I'm glad people didn't let him succeed.
My son told me that three boys in his school were expelled for homosexual behavior. So I asked him "if they were caught having sex with girls would they have been expelled?" Because seriously, people being denied their education over their sexual orientation seems a bit harsh to me. And to think that gay people already have all these problems and Kevin Spacey is adding to them by saying, "Oh by the way, when you're drunk and you're gay sometimes you molest small boys" is just not helping.
So watch your words. Think before you speak and all that jazz.
Speaking of using my words, the National Gay and Lesbian Human rights commission could use your help. Whether you subscribe to the idea that gayness is wrong or right, surely you can see that to suppress someone's human rights because of their perceived immorality is not only hypocritical but just plain wrong. Hopefully reading In Search of Paradise will make you see that people are just people, regardless of who they love. Pre-order period is winding down. Three days and it's awverr. See you on the other side.

Friday, 27 October 2017

The Spoils of War

Book Launch for Charity is winding down. We're on like the last seven days on what has been an epic journey of learning and getting the hang of an aspect of writing every writer hates: marketing. I want to thank you for sticking it out with me bombarding your inbox almost daily with my ramblings and musings.
Thank you for your time.
I've been thinking about writing a companion piece to In Search of Paradise. My ableiest of able beta reader asked me a number of questions while we were reading through the manuscript. She was curious about some things which I took for granted as obvious. Things which maybe only Kenyans might understand. Now I put in footnotes to explain those, but I feel like I might just take the time out and flesh things out. What do you think? Should I do that?
I'm also thinking about what next. In about seven days, In Search of Paradise will launch, the price will rise, we'll know how much was made on pre-order and give that to the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. Hopefully, the book will have gained some momentum and I might turn to something else. I am dithering between finishing Cinderella By Any Other Name which is a forced marriage story, and Child of Destiny - Marcus Devereux in which we finally meet the Child of Destiny. Both of them are somewhere about midway or thereabouts. Which one to finish next? Shall I put a poll on my facebook page? What's the best way forward?
Meanwhile, +Rihanna did a shoot for Vogue Arabia where she channels queen Nefertiti. Which is only right since she has Nefertiti under her boobs (as a tattoo). Anyway, I was looking at one picture in particular and it was giving me SPOILER REDACTED vibes for In Search of Paradise. There is this one scene in which seriously if there was a visual representation, she in that outfit would be it...okay I'll give you a slight hint. It involves Zawadi, but it doesn't.
Either way, +Rihanna is the only true ruler I acknowledge. The - fake - ruler of my country just sent his thugs to beat up people and kill them in a slum neighborhood of Nairobi. I think he wants to provoke chaos and blame it on the other guy. Only, the other guy isn't playing those games. I can't believe I'm saying this but I think I've officially joined the resistance. Is this a worldwide thing now? Is it something in the atmosphere or is the apocalypse truly upon us? Anyways, maybe I should pack a small bag of necessities and keep that ready.
Just in case.
Question: What does one pack for the apocalypse? Apart from toilet paper that is...

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Blogger Recognition Award

So I got nominated by another blogger, Oursamyatra for this 'blogger recognition award'. I don't usually get picked for things, so this is a big deal to me just because it makes me feel seen. So yay!
A big thank you to Oursamyatra for picking me; if you have an interest in traveling in India, you should check them out.

What is the Blogger Recognition Award?

The blogger recognition award is given to bloggers, by bloggers to show appreciation for the work and dedication they put into their blogs. Now y'all know I put in work on this blog...So it's nice when somebody says, "Hey, here's lookin' at you kid!"
It's also a great way to keep the love going so do make sure to click on all the links and visit all the blogs mentioned. I also want to take this time to say thank you to my constant readers. Kisses and hugs to all of you.

What is Oursamyatra and who are they?

Samyatra means journey together and this blog chronicles the travels of two Indian students, Debabrati and Aniruddha around Kolkata and the rest of India. They combine photos and descriptions to provide a window into their world. If India is on your list of places to visit, this is a good place to start doing your research.

The Story Behind The Writing-A-Book Diaries

I started this blog when I took my book back from a traditional publisher and decided that from then on, I was going to do my own publishing. Of course, I did research, and one of the most common recommendations was that you can't be an author of note without a blog. I had no idea what to blog about being a very bohemian sort of person and just wanting things to be what they would be. However, with time and learning, I have reached the point where I know what this blog is for and hopefully so do my readers? It's been a trip and hopefully, it's just beginning.

My Advice to New Bloggers

1. Be yourself: I've seen people on the facebook writers' groups asking questions like "should I post such and such a thing or will it make me seem..." Stop trying to be a persona, and just be a person. Not everyone's going to like you, but that's okay. You'll find your tribe.
2. Post on a regularly scheduled non-schedule schedule: Okay I just wanted to say that; it's a quote from Frank Devereux in Supernatural season 7. However, the point is, don't go long periods of time without posting. The more reliable you are as a poster, the faster you will grow your audience.
3. Share, share and then share some more: when I started writing this blog, I would like put whatever heading jumped at me (okay, I still mostly do that) and write my piece and that was it. Whatever will be will be, remember? However, if you want to find your tribe, you have to make it easy to find you. So write a blog heading which gives your reader a clue as to the subject, and share your post everywhere so that you increase your readership.
4. Find out who your audience is: You might think that you're writing to elderly ladies in Scandinavia when it turns out that it's young gay men in Czechia reading your blog. Use and google analytics to find out who you're talking to.

My Nominations are:

These are some blogs that I think are worth taking a look at:

Lesley Awino:
Jackie Wanjiku:
Valentine Kizito:
Eva Muturi:
Gloria Mari:
The Kenyan Camper:
Toi Thomas:
Bethany Perry:
Glynis Jolly:
Debdatta Dasgupta Sahay:

Rules for Accepting this Award

Take the time to thank the blogger who nominated you, write a bit about them and their blog. Also, provide a link to their blog.

• Write a post to show your award.
• Give a brief story how your blog started.
• Give pieces of advice to new bloggers.
• Select 10 to 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
• Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them, provide the link to the post you created.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Stereotypically Unique

I never used to appreciate the significance of stereotyping in art until I began to watch Shadowhunters. Every character on there is the antithesis of what they're supposed to be. The gay head of institute, Alec Lightwood is as far from the stereotypical gay man as it is possible to get:
I think that subconsciously, Alec's differentness influenced my rendering of Ben in In Search of Paradise. Ben is the most like non-stereotypical gay guy too. He plays rugby, drinks beer, attends campus, has a typical rugby build. He's the guy all other guys want to be. He's the guy all the girls want. And he's gay. In fact, that whole book tries to throw out what your expectations of certain people are. You'll let me know if I succeeded yeah?
Back to Shadowhunters: Then we have Magnus, a bisexual warlock who knows how to be faithful. Apparently, bisexuality is associated with infidelity.

I have been aware of the debates and the importance of representation, mainly because of twitter. But I never applied it to me. After all, there are a finite number of ways in which female Africans are portrayed on screen; 
The helpless victim of oppression.

Or the exotic princess.
and that one's not even an African...
Or else they're background noise, especially Southern Sudanese people who do add a lot of color to the sea of white, don't they? Otherwise, they're Africans as African-Americans like Edi Gathegi in StartUp and Twilight and the myriad of other shows he's been in. Not that I'm complaining. He knocks it out of the park and I am here for it. I'm glad for his success but his characters are not me.
I sincerely do believe that someone on screen does not have to look like you or come from where you come from for you to relate to them. Still...some of the reason I'm soooo excited about Black Panther is it's almost all-black cast. Not just all black; but black people from everywhere. There's Kenya of course, Zimbabwe, Nigeria via the UK, African Americans, the's a veritable diaspora. That is exciting to me even though Wakanda is not my life. I also think its the first time an African location (albeit mythical) is portrayed as anything other than suffering and poor. It's the lack of stereotyping that is super exciting. Also Marvel. Also, black people being badass.

I was watching Rough Night the other day and with my new awareness of stereotypes, I realized that EVERYONE in that movie was a stereotype.
There was the pretty, popular blonde one who everyone wants to be friends with, the struggle fat girl who feels so grateful for the pretty one's friendship and is clingy, the black and bourgie one (p.s. has Zoe Isabella Kravitz kind of been typecast as 'your exotic negro'?), the struggle lesbian in flannel who doesn't comb her hair. They weren't even real people; they were just somebody's notion of how a certain cohort (I'm avoiding using stereotype so many times) of people behave and look.
I mean it was a good story, I enjoyed it. But...for once can the fat girl be the confident one? How about the black girl have other black friends? Oh, and I forgot the hippy, also doesn't comb her hair, doesn't stand up for herself when she's being insulted, gets to be the one who gets hurt, dirty blonde unwashed hair...
I mean, do you recognize yourself? Is this you? Or is this what people think you are?
Maybe we need to do away with stereotypes and focus more on characters huh? After all, we're all unique and special, right?
Book Launch for Charity is winding down. Have you got your pre-order yet? The price triples when the book goes live. So whether you're doing it for charity or to get a bargain, get that pre-order in now.